Students in three sections of introductory psychology, N = 1051, were asked about the utility of traditional, e.g. instructor, lectures and textbook, and nontraditional, e.g., clickers, podcasts and online lecture slides, teaching tools. Students who felt unprepared for college (25.9%) differed from their peers in their perceived utility of these tools. Both groups of students reported that novel teaching tools were less helpful than traditional teaching tools and while there was no group difference in the perceived usefulness of the novel tools, underprepared students found traditional teaching tools to be less helpful than did prepared students. When the individual tools were used to predict the amount of self-reported learning gains in these students, it was the traditional teaching tools that accounted for the greater proportion of variability in overall learning. These results suggest that, rather than adding new approaches to their teaching, instructors could best assist their underprepared students by helping them learn to make better use of traditional teaching tools.

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